Weekly Photo Challenge: Up

Whether domesticated …

Kitties-1

or in the wild … these kitties like to climb up trees

Cheetah-2

Out in the open …

Vultures up tree

perched on trees … these birdies are on top of the world!

Birds up tree

In response to the WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge. Head over to The Daily Post and join the fun.

I’m Fearless – I Just Don’t Know It … Yet

One fine spring evening, I was inspired to jog along the riverside.

Endorphins pumping, feet pounding to the rhythm of Macklemore’s Can’t Hold Us, I was high on life. Suddenly, from the corner of my eye, I spotted a lone duck swimming furiously in the middle of the river, a duck I nicknamed Flora.

Flora the fearless

Flora the fearless

As Flora paddled, a blazing trail of water followed her. I’m not sure where she was headed, but boy, she was determined. Though small in stature, Flora wasn’t intimidated by the sheer body of water surrounding her. Neither depth, nor height, nor width, nor the frigidity of the water could deter her from her mission.

Flora was confident and charming. She would playfully turn back, strike a pose, and then keep it moving.
Flora trailblazing

Flora trailblazing

Captivated by her adventurous spirit, I thought:

It sure must be wonderful to have Flora’s fierce attitude. If this beautiful creature can fearlessly navigate into the vast unknown, why do I easily get distracted by Dr Fear and Mrs Doubt? There’s this immensely exciting world waiting to be explored, yet I settle for “OK” rather than striving for “extraordinary.”

Flora’s confidence and boldness has inspired me to dig deep within myself. I need to unearth the buried treasure that my Creator so eagerly wants to release.

Flora knows she can swim. She demonstrates it brilliantly. She spreads her joy to all who will stop and see. This creature uses her innate skills and talents to bless the world around her.

Through Flora’s example, God’s spirit assures me that neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will separate me from His love (Romans 8:39). And because perfect love casts out all fear, I can forget the past and look forward to what lies ahead, pressing on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling me (Philippians 3:13).

How has creation inspired you lately?

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Accessible Change

Cell tower photographed in Tukuyu, Tanzania

Cell tower photographed in Tukuyu, Tanzania

Mobile phones have revolutionized communication and entrepreneurship in many African nations—Kenya and Tanzania included.

This cell tower located in the hills and valleys of Tukuyu, Tanzania, symbolizes connectivity and accessibility. It represents technology that not only affects day-to-day life, but impacts economic development.

Before the rampant use of mobile phones, and I’m talking approximately 10 years ago, communication was tough! Living in Canada and having to contact family members in remote villages in Africa was next to impossible. Today, almost everyone is just a phone call away. There is rarely a need to rely on the sole landline phone in the village.

Mobile Banking

I’ve witnessed first hand how mobile telephony has rapidly changed the lives and businesses of many Africans. In fact, the mobile revolution in Africa has surpassed that of many western nations. It is arguably more pervasive and affordable. Even our grandmothers who live in remote far away locations have cell phones, and not 1 but 2!

In emerging economies, cell phones are used for more than just talking. Mobile telephony has significantly transformed money transfer, education, banking, agriculture, and healthcare. It’s impossible to ignore the impact that M-Pesa—a mobile phone–based money transfer system—has had on its millions of users since launching in Kenya in 2007.

Using M-Pesa, folks can:

  • Pay bills
  • Deposit and withdraw money
  • Transfer money
  • Purchase airtime

… and all without a trip to the bank! To quote Melinda Gates:

More people in Kenya are moving money through the M-Pesa system than the banking sector

An ad for M-Pesa at the market in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania

An ad for 3 competing mobile money solutions on the same poster at a market in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania: M-Pesa, Tigo Pesa, and Airtel Money

Power Shift

The mass adoption of mobile telephony has resulted in healthy competition that further enriches Africa’s cultural fabric. This has resulted in huge price reductions; in fact, calling the West from Africa is now 80% cheaper than the reverse! This has created a change in the power dynamic, with Africa now driving the conversation on progress.

Rampant monopolization being witnessed in the West is not allowing real change to take place in many sectors, as the pace and direction of change is under corporate control. The change conversation has to be defined by the end-users and competition is key to fostering a client-centric environment; this is something emerging economies have understood.

What does change mean to you? What kind of change are you witnessing in your society? See what others have said here: Weekly Photo Challenge: Change

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Spring is Being Hijacked

Here comes the blizzard
All dressed in white
Unwelcome guest
Is hijacking spring

Is this a late April Fools’ Day joke?

  • 15 to 25 centimeters of snow and ice pellets expected in Montreal … in the middle of April?!

Spring is definitely struggling to break through!

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Colorful Market

On a hot steamy day in Dar-es-Salaam
Mama and I went out to market
Streets abuzz with flare and color
Carefree and joyous every hour
Skipped home with plum tomatoes in basket

Busy, colorful street market on a hot, hot day in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania

Busy, colorful street market on a hot, hot day in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania

Can you spot the coconuts, bright bowls, sugar cane, and bottled soda?

Can you spot the coconuts, bright bowls, sugar cane, and bottled soda?

Bargaining the cost of bright, red tomatoes

Bargaining the cost of bright, red tomatoes

Colorful umbrellas for laughter and shade—'twas 45 degrees celcius, no joke!

Colorful umbrellas for laughter and shade—’twas 45 degrees celcius, no joke!

Fashion for the hot weather: kangas, kangas galore

Fashion for the hot weather: kangas, kangas galore

For more colorful inspirations, check out Weekly Photo Challenge: Color

Mirror Mirror on the Wall

I AM

There are days when I don’t appreciate the woman in the mirror.
I feel insecure, not good enough, unpretty, unaccomplished
…sometimes I’m just my own worst enemy.

After listening to a powerful teaching by Pastor Joel Osteen—The Power of I AM—I was strongly impacted and reminded that words have creative power.

Whatever follows ‘I Am’ will come looking for you ~ Pastor Joel Osteen

So to attract love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control, I must CHOOSE to make positive affirmations over my life.
I must undergo a mental transformation and see myself as God sees me.

I am a daughter of the most high God
I am successful
I am blessed
I am beautiful
I am intelligent
I am fun
I am a history maker
I am rich
I am confident
I am young
I am creative
I am an awesome wife, mother, daughter, friend
I am a survivor
I am wise
I am destined to deliver nations
I am healthy
I am loved
I am an inspiration
I am a motivator
I am talented
I am strong
I am victorious
I am fearfully and wonderfully made

And when I love and appreciate the woman in the mirror, I will be of better value to God and people, and can boldly proclaim:

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;

your works are wonderful, I know that full well (Psalm 139:14)

What kind of “I AMs” are you inviting into your life? What “I AM” statements will you CHOOSE to attract?